Driver given suspended sentence for tachograph fraud

Drivers' hours legislation

An HGV driver who used two tachographs to do a full day’s work and then drive home to his family has received a suspended prison sentence.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that Anthony Mooney claimed his tachograph was faulty and then when a replacement arrived he did not send the original one back. He went on to use both devices on 16 occasions between July 2017 and January 2018. It enabled him to exceed his drivers’ hours and then return home.

He had since lost his job, as well as his HGV licence for five years.

Mooney admitted 16 charges of wrongly using a tachograph in a case brought by the DVSA. However, the judge said he escaped an immediate prison sentence because the law had not been broken for financial gain.

Mooney had also stopped the tacho offence before he was found out because he realised the seriousness of what he was doing, the court was told.

The judge sentenced him to six months in prison, suspended for two years and ordered him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

DVSA enforcement manager Howard Forester said: “With as many as one in six serious accidents being caused by tired drivers, it’s hugely important to take your breaks. This person deliberately cheated the system to allow himself to carry on driving for longer than was legal or safe. He’s now lost his job, his entitlement to drive lorries and has a criminal record.”

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DAF LF - The 15 problems you need to know before you buy


The sheer popularity of the humble DAF LF means there are plenty of operators out there all too willing to point out its faults. It’s important to beware of judging the vehicle unfairly because of that, when in reality it’s a simple result of the law of averages. There might even be an element of nit-picking going on, especially given these are generally short-distance vehicles whose drivers will be back at base and available to report the smallest of defects at the end of every shift.

Here is our list of the things those running DAF LFs tell us it’s worth looking out for – particularly on high-mileage abused examples.

Hover over and click on any of the points on the photo to find out more...

1. Seat bases: Seat bases suffer badly from wear, especially if drivers do not use the air dump facility before sliding out of the vehicle. (Back to image)

2. Rear crank seals: Reports of leaks from rear crank seals on some vehicles. (Back to image)

3. DPF: Issues where the DPF regenerates too often and for too long, despite multiple filter changes. Ensure software is up to date, then if that doesn’t cure the problem try replacing the EGR valve. (Back to image)

4. Doors: Door-check straps become worn, with the result that the door catches on the front corner panel and causes damage. (Back to image)

5. Sensor rings: Sensor rings on the braking system can corrode, causing the system to show an ABS fault. The solution is to clean or replace, although beware on older models – these had the sensor cast into the actual disc. (Back to image)

6. Number plate: The positioning of the front number plate means that it hangs down below the bumper, and as a result frequently gets caught on potholes and entrance kerbs. (Back to image)

7. Engine light: Phantom red engine lights which clear themselves if the vehicle is parked up for 60-90 minutes, leaving no trace on vehicle diagnostics. The cause is water ingress on the passenger side, below the windscreen. (Back to image)

8. Gear covers: Watch out for timing gear covers, which are prone to weeping. (Back to image)

9. DPF: Issues also with the DPF switch inside the cab, which is of the standard on/off type. This leads to incidents where drivers cancel regeneration, either deliberately or by knocking the switch, then forget to turn it on again. A sprung rocker switch is available, intended for pet-regs trucks, but can be retrofitted to any vehicle at minimal cost. (Back to image)

10. Anti-roll bar: The rear anti-roll bar bushes often wear prematurely. (Back to image)

11. AdBlue: AdBlue faults – some later trucks require the exhaust changing to cure these. Some reports of front springs breaking in the second or third year when the LF is used as a skip-loader. (Back to image)

12. Gearstick: On earlier, manual models, there are reports of incidents where the gearstick has literally fallen through the dash. The cure is simple – lift the stick back up again and replace the spring clip which should hold it in place. (Back to image)

13. Clutch: Clutch replacements needed far sooner than expected in some applications – as soon as 160-170,000km on one urban-based fleet. Check whether or not this has already been done if the vehicle comes from a similar background. (Back to image)

14. Doors: The rubber door seals have been known to prematurely wear. (Back to image)

15. Steps: Steps only made from fibreglass which are bolted directly to under the base of the cab. If heavier drivers regularly use the vehicle, these are prone to breaking off. (Back to image)